Message Regarding the 2021 Season
Posted June 29, 2021
Last night the Southwest Baseball League teams met to discuss the season, and have decided to attempt to move forward with a schedule that would see every team play each other once starting in and around July 14th and wrapping up somewhere in the middle of August. Right now the plan would be not to have a playoff this year and just take it as a year to just play ball.
The sad reality is that if there is not a movement on the 25 spectator rule, prior to the start of our schedule, we may not be able to play this summer. Last year we were able to run at 25% capacity with social distancing and it worked. There were no cases tied to games. Our teams were cautious and rescheduled games, and we had players that stayed away when they were possible contacts of positive cases even if they were not considered close contacts by Manitoba Health.
As a league we understand the importance of having restrictions and we understand that the job of Premier Pallister, Dr. Roussin and Manitoba Health is not an easy one. That being said our league sees some giant gaps in what is allowed and what is not:
There are pools and splash pads close to some of our diamonds that can allow as many as 95 people in a fenced area, but we can’t have people socially distanced around a wide open ballpark in Hartney as the Hoppers play the Reston Rockets.
8 people from multiple households can sit at a table not socially distanced on a patio, or 10 friends can get together in a backyard. But they cannot sit in the outfield in Oak River and watch the Dodgers play the Hamiota Red Sox.
For highschool grads people can sit in their cars and watch the grad, but people cannot park down the line in their cars in Deloraine and watch the Royals play the Boissevain Centennials.
2 Couples who are double vaccinated can go for dinner downtown Rivers but if there are already 25 people at ball diamond as the Comets play the Virden Oilers we would have to turn them away.
If a Cosco or Walmart can have a 25% capacity indoors, how can the ball diamond in Boissevain outside and wide open not be allowed the same, when Dr Roussin said yesterday that this virus “Thrives indoors”
Communities in Saskatchewan like Carnduff, Redvers, Kenossee, and Carlye that are within an hour of Reston, Virden, and Elkhorn and they are playing ball. Their communities are enjoying their summers, while Southwestern Manitoba is living under heavier restrictions then we were last summer.
For our teams, asking a volunteer to police 25 spectators and turn people away is something that we can’t ask them to do. Last year we had no problem having them walk around and make sure there were no gigantic groups, and the season went great.
Senior baseball is a huge part of our 11 member communities. Our diamonds are built and maintained on the backs of volunteers, and it would be a shame for them to sit empty. Games are a night out and a big part of people's summer. If two people want to park their car in the left field corner and sit in lawn chairs by themselves they would be 300 plus feet from the people behind home plate.
The statement has been made by our government that we want to have a great summer. Baseball is a big part of our summer in our communities, and if we can’t get going by mid July the other big part of our summer, which is harvest, will stop us from having a season.
Our hope as a league is that if the experts are right, and we hit our August 1st Vaccine Targets by July 7th that our Province will allow us to have our season, that the spectator and participant rules can be opened up and social distancing can be adhered to like last year taking the pressure off all administrators across the province.
All we want is to play ball and have people at the games to enjoy their summer!!
Rivers Baseball Association
On Behalf of the Teams of the Southwest Baseball League